UNHCR Turkey – Donor Impact Stories: “WE JUST WANT WHAT’S BEST FOR THE CHILDREN”- Providing community based protection for Syrian refugee children in Izmir – Turkey


Izmir- Turkey, May 2017 (UNHCR)- Ahmed and his brother Omar have popped upstairs to their first floor apartment above the Syrian sweet store where they both work to talk to us. The two young fathers and their wives have in addition to their own brood of four kids, adopted their nephew and niece whose families did not survive an air attack in Aleppo last year.

The family left to Turkey almost a year ago.

The two doting uncles are here to talk to UNHCR and its partner Association for Solidarity with Asylum Seekers and Migrants’ (ASAM) outreach team about their niece Taghrid’s referral for physiotherapy. Taghrid lost both lower parts of her legs during the escalation of the conflict in Aleppo in 2016. She was provided with prosthetic legs by ASAM, with the support from UNHCR and its donors such as the United States of America (USA). As a Syrian refugee benefitting from Temporary Protection (TP),
Taghrid and all refugees and asylum seekers of other nationalities benefiting from the Law on Foreigners and International Protection (LFIP) are eligible for free health care and social services in Turkey. However medical equipment such as Taghrid’s prosthetic legs are not covered free of charge.

The other children are running around in excitement at having guests but “when they hear a plane they all shriek and hide”, explains their uncle and father Omar. ASAM’s outreach team is composed of three psychologists who are providing support to the family who is suffering from serious post-traumatic stress disorder.

With over 90 per cent of the Syrian refugees in Turkey living within host communities, scattered across 81 provinces, enhancing urban outreach has become a key priority in order to identify the most vulnerable people and provide them with proper protection and assistance interventions. Across Turkey, ASAM’s community outreach teams are playing a key role in identifying vulnerable individuals, helping them access the care they need and referring them further to other service providers.

All we want now “is what’s best for the children” Ahmed concludes, and to make sure this happens “we need all the help we can get”. UNHCR Turkey is grateful for the support of the USA, which has contributed over USD 263 million to assist refugees and asylum seekers of all nationalities in Turkey, since the outbreak of the war in Syria in 2011. This year alone UNHCR Turkey has received USD 45 million from the USA, which is one of the most generous contributions received by the Operation. This key financial support helps fund a range of protection activities. In addition to this it helps build refugee resilience via livelihoods and educational activities, core relief items, winter support, enabling durable solutions as well as boosting local capacity in hosting over the three million refugees, like Taghrid and her family.

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